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Adolescence – a second chance for development

PODGORICA, 17 November 2017 – Optimism and self-confidence are new words for the 15-year-old Albina Zenunaj attending primary school “Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin”. She learned how to apply these virtues in her daily life through the workshops for development of social and emotional skills that have been organized in her school since September 2017.


Roma and Egyptian pupils from the primary school “Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin” during the workshop for development of social and emotional skills in Podgorica - UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2017

“I used to be negative, and would have given up easily when I started doing something. I would just say that I could not do it. When we started with the workshops, I told myself I could do it, that one should never give up, that we can achieve anything, and that one should always move forward”.

Albina’s friend, 13-year-old Gzim Guga, also says that workshops helped him to believe more in himself.

“Before when I used to get a bad mark, I would say, let it go, I am not going to do anything about it. Now, I try to get good marks”.

Nine workshops were delivered within the social and emotional skills development programme, launched by the Bureau for Educational Services of Montenegro, and realized by the NGO “Pedagogical Centre”, with the support of UNICEF.

Ivana Vujosevic, the programme educator, says that the workshops attended by 68 adolescents from the Roma and Egyptian community are already producing tangible results:

“They project themselves differently than before, they are more articulate now. One boy started writing a poem about the workshop. This shows that children think about workshops, and what we do with them has multiple effects”, noted Vujosevic and explained that through the nine workshops, apart from optimism and self-confidence, adolescents also learn about the values of self-control, teamwork, creativity, tolerance, empathy, honesty and gratitude.


Albina Zezunaj, pupil from the primary school “Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin” in Podgorica, talks about the skills she acquired during the organized workshop for development of social and emotional skills - UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2017

The total of 178 adolescents, aged 10 to 18, are currently involved in the program of development of social and emotional skills, including Roma and Egyptian population pupils from the primary school “Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin” in Podgorica and primary school “Mileva Lajovic Lalatovic” in Niksic, as well as residents of the Children’s Home “Mladost” in Bijela, and the Children’s and Youth Centre “Ljubovic” in Podgorica.

Also, the Bureau for Educational Services implements the social and emotional skills development program in 20 primary and secondary schools in Montenegro as a part of regular teaching programme.

According to Vujosevic, this should be the practice in all schools.

“As an educator, I believe this should exist as a separate subject. It should be our obligation to work with children on acquiring the skills that will build their character”.

The most recent science tells us that social and emotional skills are equally important for success in life as intelligence and cognitive abilities. The program of social and emotional skills development was supported by UNICEF, reminding that adolescence is a second chance for development.

 

 
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